Since email is one of the most common ways we communicate for business, it’s important to understand the rules and niceties of business email etiquette. You don’t want to unintentionally offend someone and risk losing a valuable connection.
Here are 19 essential email etiquette tips for business communications.
- Set Up Auto-Reply Messages When You’re Away – If you go on vacation or know you won’t be able to reply to emails for a few days, remember to set up an away message. Otherwise, people might assume you’re ignoring them when they don’t get a reply.
- Stick to Conventional Fonts – Business emails aren’t the place for artistic or hard-to-read fonts. Keep your fonts simple and basic.
- Use a Professional Email Address – An email address that includes your company name makes a better impression than a generic one such as Yahoo or Gmail. Additionally, stay away from email addresses that contain silly or cute expressions.
- Check Spam if You Don’t Get a Response – Before you send a reminder or assume someone hasn’t replied to your email, check your spam folder as legitimate messages sometimes end up there.
- Use an Accurate Subject Line – Always provide a subject line that informs the recipient of what the email is about.
- Describe Attachments – If you’re including an attachment, always describe it so the other person knows what to expect. Also, don’t forget to include the attachment!
- Always Proofread Your Messages – Before sending a message, proofread it for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Don’t Send Reminders Too Soon – Give people a couple of days before sending reminder messages.
- Think Before Forwarding – Not all messages need to be forwarded. If you decide to forward a message, remember to include a personal message with it. Also, check messages for accuracy before forwarding them.
- Make Your Messages Easy to Read – Part of business email etiquette involves making your messages readable. For long emails, break your text into multiple paragraphs or bulleted list of points.
- Start a New Chain for New Topics – If you correspond with someone frequently, you may have a long email chain with them. Starting a new chain for a fresh topic makes it easier to keep track of the messages.
- Only Use Reply All When Appropriate – Before hitting “Reply All,” make sure it’s really necessary that everyone on the list reads the message.
- Send Short Messages Confirming Receipt – If you don’t have time to reply fully to a message, send a brief message to confirm you got the email and that you’ll respond later.
- Use Good Manners – When sending a business email, always remember to be polite and use expressions like “please” and “thank you.”
- Make Sure You’re Not Sharing Confidential Information – Email isn’t the best way to share information that’s sensitive or confidential.
- Keep The Color Simple – Avoid colorful text in your email copy and stick with classic, professional colors like black or blue.
- Check Your Email for Tone – Before sending your message, reread it and make sure you’ve used the appropriate tone.
- Avoid Hype – A business email isn’t the right place for all caps and exclamation points. Only use these elements in moderation.
- Include a Professional Signature – An email signature at the end is a good place to include additional information or a link to your website or social media pages.
- Consider Your Relationship with the Recipient -If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, a superior or a client, the rules of email etiquette are to keep your tone formal and respectful at all times.
As with all tips, not everything is relevant to everyone, but hopefully this list will save you some heartburn the next time you’re emailing your company or a large prospect.
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